‘The Art of Thriving as a Transplant Teacher’ by Angie Busch Alston

I never could have predicted that my teaching life would include arranging demonstrations involving marine mammals and holding my students inside because of polar bear warnings, but that’s exactly what happened.

My name is Angie. I teach high school in Brevig Mission, an Inupiaq village in the Bering Strait School District.

Brevig Mission, Alaska

It’s 2021, and I love my life in the village and my job at the school. I’ve gone from never having butchered a single animal to being able to make heart and tongue soup. I’m raising a daughter who can spot a berry patch from a distance and gets it right every time. Last year’s senior class had been in my class since sixth grade. There was a lot of growth in those years, and I got to witness it all. Continue reading ‘The Art of Thriving as a Transplant Teacher’ by Angie Busch Alston

‘LKSD Creates Curriculum to Revitalize Yup’ik Language and Culture’ by Noelle Dersé

For the Lower Kuskokwim School District (LKSD), staying local isn’t just a mandate during the pandemic — it’s a long term strategy for learning. Recognizing the need for language resources to boost proficiency in the Yup’ik language, as well as a desire for curriculum that students could relate to, the LKSD administration embarked on a multi-year project to create K-12 social studies and science curriculum that addresses both these needs.

With funds and direction from the Quyurramta (“All of Us Together”) grant from the U.S. Education Department’s Alaska Native Education Program, LKSD set out to translate existing texts (with generous permission from TCI publishers) into Yugtun, the Yup’ik language. Continue reading ‘LKSD Creates Curriculum to Revitalize Yup’ik Language and Culture’ by Noelle Dersé

‘My Passion: Creating Educational Resources that Celebrate Alaska Native Culture and Language’ by Raquel Schroeder

My name is Raquel Schroeder. I’m Bristol Bay Yup’ik and St. Lawrence Island Yupik with family ties in Bristol Bay and the Bering Strait. I’m a member of the Curyung Tribe and a Shareholder of the Bristol Bay Native Corporation.

I was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska and graduated from high school in 2010. I went to Wenatchee Valley College in Washington State and Iḷisaġvik Tribal College in Utqiaġvik, Alaska, where I earned a certificate in Early Childhood Indigenous Education. In this program, I learned the importance of culturally-responsive practices and the need for preservation of Indigenous cultures and languages.

I developed an interest in creating projects with art, design and technology that focus on Alaska Native cultures, languages and land. This is important to me because, as a mother and educator, I found there aren’t many easily-accessible resources that reflect the beauty of Alaska’s land and Indigenous peoples. With a lack of resources that reflect students’ environments, it can be difficult for them to find identity in learning, which may lead to social and academic issues in the long run. My goal is to celebrate and represent every student in the educational resources I create. Continue reading ‘My Passion: Creating Educational Resources that Celebrate Alaska Native Culture and Language’ by Raquel Schroeder

‘Engaging Students in a Virtual Environment’ by Principal Robin Jones

As the Principal of Chief Ivan Blunka School in the Southwest Region School District, I want to showcase one unique way that we are engaging students in a virtual environment in New Stuyahok, Alaska. I was born and raised in Alaska, and I have always been very connected to the land and its’ resources.  I actively participate in subsistence activities to harvest fish, game, and edible plants, and my chief goal as a principal is to help my students and staff connect to the traditional way of life in a meaningful way.One opportunity we have had while in the red risk level where students are participating in distance learning is facilitating a way for them to connect through Subsistence Bingo.

Continue reading ‘Engaging Students in a Virtual Environment’ by Principal Robin Jones

‘The Importance of an Origin Story for our School’s Community’ by Arctic Light Elementary Principal Thad Keener

Arctic Light Elementary School is a K-8 public school in the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District. It is unique in that it is the only public school located on the Fort Wainwright Army U.S. Base. The school mascot is the Arctic Fox.

This year we are sharing our school mascot’s origin story. Arty the Arctic Fox is our mascot and, “Do Good Work, Be a Friend, Every Day” is our motto. With our students we have expanded these words and we were ready for this book to extend the learning. Continue reading ‘The Importance of an Origin Story for our School’s Community’ by Arctic Light Elementary Principal Thad Keener

‘Celebrating Black History Month at Clark Middle School’ by Teacher Mary Wells-Brown

We celebrated Black History Month at Clark Middle School in Anchorage this year by creating a walk-through museum. The museum told the story from the days of picking cotton and sharecropping to Katheryn Johnson, the great mathematician whose life was portrayed in the recent movie, “Hidden Figures.”

Continue reading ‘Celebrating Black History Month at Clark Middle School’ by Teacher Mary Wells-Brown

Akiak School Strives to Support Culture! by Middle School Teacher Alberta Demantle

Akiak is a predominately Yupik village located on the west bank of the Kuskokwim River. It is rich in culture with a heavy reliance on subsistence.

Highbush cranberries are picked by the gallons in August to make delicious jams.

Students at the Akiak School in the Yupiit School District are involved in many subsistence activities that take place in a particular season. Students learn at home what is “in” season, how to care for food, and about respecting nature: animals, plants and the environment. The Akiak School supports the culture by preparing subsistence foods to share with elders and families, experiencing the hard work involved in subsistence, and the value of hard work. Continue reading Akiak School Strives to Support Culture! by Middle School Teacher Alberta Demantle

The ‘Love Alaska’ Project by Sarah Petersen and Lisa Longlet at Bowman Elementary School

We are an energetic group of fifty 3rd and 4th graders at Bowman Elementary School in the Anchorage School District who make up S & L’s (Sarah and Lisa’s) family group. Our ‘Alaska Love’ project is an activity for elders (grade 4 students) that allows them to share one of their special Alaskan experiences with our family group. While youngers (3rd graders) don’t present, they look forward to being an elder the following year and having their chance to share their special family memory. The academic focus of the project is writing a personal narratives, public speaking, and Alaska geography.  Continue reading The ‘Love Alaska’ Project by Sarah Petersen and Lisa Longlet at Bowman Elementary School

‘The Annette Island School District (AISD) Highlights Its Reading and Cultural Instruction’ by Superintendent Taw Lindsey

The Annette Island School District (AISD) serves students from Metlakatla and surrounding areas on the beautiful southeast Alaskan island of Annette. Metlakatla or Maxłaxaała means “salt water passage” in the Tsimshian language. The community is only accessible by boat, ferry or plane.

Continue reading ‘The Annette Island School District (AISD) Highlights Its Reading and Cultural Instruction’ by Superintendent Taw Lindsey

“I Want Kids To Know Who They Are”: An Interview with Nick Hanson, the Eskimo Ninja Warrior by Sam Jordan and Austin Burdette at ASDN

Nick Hanson is on a mission.  He wants to motivate every kid in Alaska to know who they are and to know their purpose in life. In 2015, Nick became the first person of Inuit/Inupiaq background to compete in the NBC TV show American Ninja Warrior (ANW). Since then, he has used his fame to connect with kids across the state and encourage them to choose a path of positivity and health.

Continue reading “I Want Kids To Know Who They Are”: An Interview with Nick Hanson, the Eskimo Ninja Warrior by Sam Jordan and Austin Burdette at ASDN